Is it a good idea to hire candidates with an online degree?
The advent of the Internet has made it possible for people to perform a wide range of tasks remotely, including pursuing a college degree.
According to a survey conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group, about 7.1 million students attended at least one online course offered by a university in the fall semester of 2012, up from 6.7 million students in the previous year.
Also, 62.4 percent of colleges and universities offered fully online degree programs in 2012, an almost 30-percent increase from 2002. Since the number of people getting online degrees has increased dramatically in recent years, there is a greater likelihood that you will have online graduates applying for positions in your company.
So, is it a good call to hire job candidates with online degrees?
Are employers becoming more receptive to online degrees?
Several years ago, many employers were skeptical about online degrees, because they were afraid that they would hire people who obtained degrees from "diploma mills", unaccredited schools that offered a degree to anybody who had sufficient financial means. However, things have changed over the years.
As more and more prestigious colleges and universities, such as Stanford, MIT and Duke, begin to offer online education, employers have become less wary of the quality of online degree programs.
According to Insperity, a company that offers recruiting services to over 100,000 businesses, about 75 percent of their clients have embraced online education.
Benefits of hiring online graduates
Being receptive to online degrees can be beneficial to your business in a number of ways.
Firstly, you will have a wider pool of job candidates to choose from. It will be easier for you to find suitable candidates if you are open to hiring online graduates, since they make up a significant percentage of the total number of job seekers.
Also, online degree holders usually have a high level of self-discipline, because they completed their degree programs with minimal supervision. Many of them pursued their degrees while they were working, and they had to be very determined and disciplined in order to complete their studies.
Online graduates are a great option if you need to hire people who can take initiative and work independently.
Top 5 jobs for online graduates
Online education may not be a good option for certain students and employers, depending on which field they are in.
Some fields require a lot of practical training, which online education cannot provide as competently as traditional education. Knowing which types of online degrees are most sought after can give you a rough idea of whether or not you should hire online graduates.
As the following article shows, the top “5 online degrees that could pay off” for both employers and employees are business, information technology, engineering, education and nursing degrees.
As long as you choose job candidates who have graduated from accredited online colleges or universities, hiring online graduates does not pose more risk than hiring traditional graduates.
In fact, it may even be a more advantageous option.
John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”